Michał Sapka's website

Re: Continuous Productivity Is Toxic

Wouter Groeneveld published a post about what he calls “toxic productivity.” There is a general idea that you can’t have a hobby but a side hustle. Now, I am a software engineer as a trade and hobby. I am part of the group which popularized this hustle culture. Yet I agree entirely with Wouter when he writes:

watching Game of Thrones feels like a “waste of time” (another very loaded statement), but to others, it’s a way to offload stress, to relax, and perhaps even to get inspired.

I watch a lot of TV. My Trakt profile shows about 300 days of watch time since 2015 - and this does not take into account streaming services. Do I consider this time wasted? No. I watched a lot of it with my wife - who gets addicted to modern series easily. And there are series I watch for my own enjoyment.

I watch Star Trek because I love the universe and have a friend with whom I can discuss it. Is it wasted time? No.

I watch Seinfeld because I find it incredibly funny and smart. Recent weeks have been extremely stressful due to family health problems, so I finished my second time through the entire series. Was it wasted time? No.

I watch anime because I started when I was 12 and never stopped. I am still amazed by some titles. Was the time to watch them wasted? No.

I still play games. I limit it, as I remember that gaming took over my free time when I was younger, and I want to have less homologous free time. But do I conder the 100 hours of Persona 5 wasted? No. And it’s a great way to rebuild frienship with another friend.

I am learning FreeBSD, and it’s an utterly unmarketable skill for me. I am not a sys-admin, and if I were, it’s 2023, and I’d have more job offers after becoming certified in AWS. Yet, it gives a lot of pleasure to experience this OS.

I am learning Emacs not because it makes me more productive (on the contrary!) but because it makes me feel good.

And this is why we need hobbies. We need something just for us, something that makes us happy.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy